Yeats

    Violence and Art # Yeats had some deeply held opinions on the role of the Artist in history. Violence was very much a part of the rise and fall of most civilisations. Researchers today recognise that we live in much more civilised times, though the scale and intensity of violence may merely have become more remote. Yeats accepts violence as part of change. He saw war as a necessary purification of nations.

    In Memory of W.B. Yeats - W. H. Auden # Wynstan Hugh Auden was a modern poet (1907 – 1973) not only in the sense that he belonged to the 20 th C. but in that he addresses social issues in an attempt to solve them. He was heavily influenced by other great early 20^(th) Century poets like T.S. Eliot, Louis MacNeice, Stephen Spender and the dramatist, Christopher Isherwood. In his early years, Auden was a radical left-wing, agnostic anti-fascist, quasi- Marxist activist protesting a hierarchical depersonalised society that was hostile to the aspirations of the common man and denied the individual a chance for personal fulfilment.

    Violence and Religion # Religions tend to arouse deep passions, strong convictions and assumptions of righteousness that justify entitlements of power to impose their views on others. Most conquer territory by a combination of coercion and conversion forcing the indigenous inhabitants, as part of their hegemony, to adhere to their teachings and practices - Catholics in South America, Protestants in North America and Africa, Muslims in North Africa and in the Balkans, later India and Afghanistan and the Hindus vied the Buddhists for hegemony in the Orient.

    William Butler Yeats (1865 — 1939) # When we quarrel with others, we make rhetoric; When we quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry. Born in Ireland, William Butler Yeats wrote most of his major poetry from l9l4 until his death in 1939. This was a period of extreme terror, hysteria and violence, not only in Ireland, but also in Europe and the rest of the world. Yeats is a notable poet worthy of study not because he provides historical answers we might ask about this period, nor does he provide an accurate detailed account of the historical process, but because of his brilliant insights in our western culture and because of deep sympathy he has for the tragedy and pathos of human life.

    ‘Easter 1916’ I. Context & Subject Matter The poem is written in response to the Uprisings against the British Rule in Ireland during World War I. Irish grievances were many, varied and longstanding; dating from the time of William the Conqueror and most involving brutal oppression and deprivation from the English. Before WWI, England had agreed to Home Rule for the Irish but because of the war England reneged on this promise.

    Lapis Lazuli # “Lapis Lazuli”, one of William B. Yeats last poems perhaps best illustrates his philosophy of history and the role that artists can and do play in it. “Lapis Lazuli”, written in 1938 not only Indicates the concern he feels for events “falling apart” but also his optimistic view that history will continue and that everything will turn out in the end.  “Lapis Lazuli” is a well structured poem.

    Leda and the Swan # Subject Matter – Context and Background # This poem is about a recurring phenomenon of incarnation – immaculate conception by the transformation of a god into an earthly embodiment to procreate life. In all primitive civilisations, gods become human. Egyptian myths depict** Horus,** the son of **Osiris and Isis **as an incarnation, or anthropomorphic embodiment of the divine. **Ra** is the One and alone creator who made all things.

    The Second Coming # Despite its misunderstanding, this is Yeats' most quoted poem. It acquires a timely relevance whenever we feel the Dionysian mindset prevails over the Apollonian. Like Hegel, Yeats believed in the dialectical pendulum swinging back and forth between order and chaos. Yeats uses the models of his gyres or spirals to illustrate his theories. # Decline and Fall of Civilisations # Hysterical claims of imminent disaster are legendary such as Chicken Little’s prediction that *“the sky is falling in” *or Hanrahan’s forlorn and dire warning that *“we’ll all be rooned” *Prophets of doom and gloom have persisted throughout all ages enervating and sapping aspirations.